Co-Branding versus Co-Marketing and When to Use What

Today, more and more businesses are partnering to provide better products and services to their customers.

The terms co-branding and co-marketing get thrown around when discussing business partnerships, and they are often used interchangeably, but there is actually a difference between the two. It’s important to be aware of this difference, as well as when to use each for best results, to best support your business needs.

Co-Branding vs Co-Marketing Definition

Co-branding happens when brands pool their resources to create a shared product. Co-marketing, on the other hand, refers to the process in which two or more brands promote each other’s offerings to their respective audiences. In other words, co-branding results in new products or services representative of both brands, while co-marketing simply involves marketing efforts.

Co-branding and co-marketing can both be highly effective for brand growth, but one may be better for your business than the other, depending on what you’re aiming to achieve.

Co-marketing is best for those wanting to grow their business and who are willing to put in the time and effort to develop a successful collaboration strategy. Co-branding may be better for your business if you have a product idea that isn’t the best fit for your customers, but you feel it would be compatible with another company’s offerings and could help expose your brand to a new audience.

Co-Branding Examples

Many successful products have come about thanks to co-branding efforts. The following are some of the most well-known co-branding partnerships.

Apple & MasterCard

Apple Pay was developed to allow users to store their card information on their phones so that they wouldn’t always have to be in possession of their physical wallets when making purchases.

However, Apple soon realized that the success of this tool hinged on the willingness of card companies to integrate with the technology. By a similar token, MasterCard understood that in order to remain competitive, it needed to get on board with the latest, greatest consumer purchasing tools. This match made in heaven resulted in a smooth, integrated platform for Apple, and a larger customer base for MasterCard.

UNICEF & Target

In 2015 Target partnered with UNICEF on a campaign called Kid Power. Target sold kids’ fitness trackers that encouraged wearers to complete a number of activities to help feed underprivileged children. With this product, Target was able to promote healthy habits to a young audience, and UNICEF was helped in carrying out its mission.

CoverGirl & Lucasfilm

When Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released in 2015, the movie’s parent company Lucasfilm partnered with CoverGirl to get old and new fans excited for the release. On the surface, this seemed to be an unusual partnership, to say the least, but the idea behind it was brilliant.

In the past, space and sci-fi action movies were primarily targeted at men and boys, but to stir interest among the female crowd, CoverGirl and Lucasfilm came together to create a Star Wars-inspired makeup line.

Co-Marketing Examples

From Pepsi and DreamWorks to HubSpot and Chatfuel, there has been no shortage of great co-marketing partnerships over the past several years. Here are a few standouts:

Volvo & Legoland

Volvo partnered with Legoland to deliver driving safety tips to kids and families alike. The Volvo brand was promoted at Legoland alongside programs to teach visitors about the rules of the road, including seatbelt habits. Legoland managed to draw more people to the park with these programs, while Volvo enjoyed greater brand awareness.

Mezzetta & Delta

In 2011 Mezzetta Pizza launched a social media campaign encouraging users to upload snapshots of their favorite pizza. Those that submitted the best shots were entered into a drawing to win several different prizes, including a trip to Italy aboard Delta Airlines. This campaign helped establish Mezzetta as a pizza brand and promoted interest in Delta’s offerings.

Airbnb & Flipboard

Flipboard was a new social network aggregation company based in Palo Alto, California, and it partnered with Airbnb in 2017 to help users share their passions through a social media campaign. Users opened Flipboard, searched for the Airbnb profile, and “hearted” their favorite travel experiences. As a result of this promotion, Flipboard put itself on the map and Airbnb had the opportunity to share its services with an even broader audience.

See How Engage 2 Engage Can Help!

Co-branding and co-marketing both serve their respective purposes. Which one is best for your business depends on your goals, your abilities, and how much you’re willing to contribute to the partnership.

Of course, whether you’re looking to get involved with co-branding, co-marketing, or anything in between, having a good marketing strategy is essential. Engage 2 Engage is on a mission to provide small business entrepreneurs with resources and services for their digital marketing needs.

Reach out today to learn more about Engage 2 Engage and how we can help you get started with co-branding or co-marketing initiatives!


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